Key West, a hurricane & a missing person spells #mystery in Last Call from Phyllis Smallman #excerpt @RABTBookTours


The Sherri Travis Mystery Series, Book 7

Date Published: October 31, 2017
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Down in Key West, Sherri Travis and her best friend Marley are looking for a little fun in the sun. Promising to be back for last call, Marley leaves the Rawhide Saloon with an Elvis impersonator. She doesn’t return. With Hurricane Alma turning toward Key West, and the police saying Marley must be missing for seventy-two hours before they start searching, Sherri and Lexi Divine, a six-foot tall drag queen, hunt for Marley amidst the chaos of the evacuation.
Other Books in the The Sherri Travis Mystery Series:
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Margarita Nights
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 1
Sex in a Sidecar
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 2
A Brewski for the Old Man
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 3
Champagne for Buzzards
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 4
Highball Exit
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 5
Martini Regrets
A Sherri Travis Mystery Book 6

~ Excerpt ~

Thursday, May 18th
96 hours before Hurricane Alma hits Key West
Lunging into water up to my knees, I threw myself into the canoe, tipping it wildly until it threatened to roll. The paddle cracked against the side, signaling where I was. A yell went up in the dark, “She’s here!”
Beside me, Marley screamed, “Slow down.”
I gulped air. The terrifying memory of the Everglades receded and the sun shone again, but my heart still hammered in my ears and fear still trickled sweat down my body.
“Shit, Sherri, you’re going to kill us. Pay attention!”
“I am,” I said, but she knew it wasn’t true. Terrifying images, dangerous waking nightmares, were a daily part of my life since Clay’s murder. I glanced over at Marley. She had her bare feet braced against the dash, one hand locked to the back of my seat and the other one clutching the door, ready for the crash. The freckles she hated stood out on her pale face. Trying to make light of her fears, and diminish any fault of mine, I waved at the empty road in front of us where only a mirage of heat danced on the fiery asphalt. “There’s no one but us out here. What are you afraid of?”
“Dying, you idiot.”
The speedometer was closer to one hundred than it was to ninety. I backed off a little and took a deep breath. All the crosses and plastic flowers along the road said she might have a point.
“Pull over,” she said. “I’ll drive.” I eased up a little more on the gas but I didn’t pull over.
We’d come down the west coast of Florida from Cypress Island, and now we were going east on Alligator Alley toward Miami. “You drove to Fort Myers so I drive the rest of the way. That was the deal,” I said. Ahead of us, a flamingo flew low over the road, racing us toward the Atlantic. “Relax and enjoy the scenery.” I needed to be in control. I was the only one who could deal with the disaster when it came, and my head was in a place where the only thing coming was disaster.

~ About the Author ~

Phyllis Smallman’s first novel, MARGARITA NIGHTS, won the inaugural Unhanged Arthur award from the Crime Writers of Canada after being shortlisted for the Debut Dagger in the U.K. and the Malice Domestic in the U.S.. Her writing has appeared in both Spinetingler Magazine and Omni Mystery Magazine. The Florida Writer’s Association awarded CHAMPAGNE FOR BUZZARDS a silver medal for the best mystery and her fifth book, HIGHBALL EXIT, won an IPPY award in 2013. LONG GONE MAN won the Independent Publisher’s IPPY Gold Award as best Emystery/thriller in 2014. The Sherri Travis mystery series was one of six chosen by Good Morning America for a summer read. Before turning to a life of crime, Smallman was a potter. She divides her time between a beach in Florida and an island in the Salish Sea. Visit her website at
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Dive into Ancient Persia in the #actionadventure The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan #excerpt from Alejandro de Gutierre

november 8

Book title: The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan

Series: Scorpions and Silk – Book One (can stand alone)

Author: Alejandro de Gutierre

Genre: Action-Adventure / Literary

Published: Sept 1, 2017

~ Blurb ~

A resourceful amnesiac, abiding in a brutal desert prison in Ancient Persia, tries to help his fellow inmates and struggles to stay alive. But when an opportunity for freedom manifests, matters grow worse than ever, and he must confront his deepest fears, or lose himself forever.

~ Grab a copy! ~


~ Excerpt ~

IT JUST STOOD THERE, a living statue, of onyx along the back, and the color of desert sand in the legs and claws. Its tail, of linked amber blocks with the aspect of unpolished jewels, tapered and grew darker along its length to the last segment, which glowed dull red as if it held a ruby inside.

It looked hard, its shell unbreakable, its soul impenetrable. No longer than a fig, no wider than an apricot, it nevertheless might as well have been a jackal, for the way it seemed to take up all the space inside my cell, and commanded my full attention. In a senseless stupor, I felt myself actually drawn toward it – drawn by some perverse instinct to tempt Asi – Lady Fortune. Was I? I was: leaning my head and closing the distance between us by degrees, holding my breath, the scorpion’s perfect stillness pulling me closer. But I shuddered and, drawing breath, allowed my cautious nature to prevail over my morbid curiosity, and pushed myself back from the creature. Then I questioned my senses, because although I knew better, I feared that the scorpion had taken a few tiny steps in pursuit of me. Where were the guards?

The scorpion had wandered into my cell several minutes earlier, under the door perhaps, or through the narrow slit in the wall, high overhead. I didn’t see it enter; I only noticed it as it stalked to the middle of my cell. While its legs rose and fell in a coordinated haunt, its body, tail, and dangling ruby stinger seemed to glide across the ground like a leaf floating down a gentle river. Smaller than a man’s palm, with its eight legs flexed at sharp angles, it stood unmoving, its stinger poised and impossible to miss. This little khrafstra was known to all desert dwellers: the Red Scorpion of India, author of the Three-Day Death. I had to keep it in my sights, but I had to look away from it.

Shifting my gaze, looking past my unwelcome visitor, I glanced at the filthy bucket in the far corner of my cell. Behind it, I had in my possession a precious stash comprising one large rock and three small ones – for self-defense, not against the guards of course, but against other prisoners. Stones were hard to come by; the basalt walls and floor didn’t chip easily. But having them, especially a big one you could smash with, often made the difference. So I was glad to have them. And my big rock was just what I needed right then, but the capricious Lady Asi had to have her little joke; it was she who must have guided the scorpion right between me and my filthy bucket, and the precious rocks it concealed. Where were the guards?

The guards always came for us when there were clashes outside – tribal clashes, over pillaging and raiding rights along the trade route that connected Isfahan to Yazd; tribal clashes like the one that raged in the desert valley below. The horses, the chariots, the burly men and women flinging themselves at each other, laden with armor, swinging axes and swords… a pleasure to watch; our sole diversion in this forsaken, starless prison, this waiting room for death or madness.

Streaming through a narrow vertical gap carved at twice my height, a sliver of white light blasted the inner wall of my cell, telling me mid-morning had come. Where the sun hit it, the stone glowed silvery blue, while a dull, dark grey pressed in from all sides, and deep shadows haunted the corners. My cell had no bed; the filthy bucket was my chamber pot. The ceiling was high, and the cell measured seven paces by five, so there was ample room, but the tedium of staring at those stone walls from daybreak to nightfall was a yoke around the neck, fixed too tight, always squeezing the throat. On the hottest days, one struggled to draw breath. At night, the darkness in our cells was oppressive, and terror frequently set in; one heard screaming most nights.

I felt like screaming just then, my guts heaving and my chest constricting as the scorpion repositioned itself, tapping its many legs two or three times quickly and turning in a half circle. It felt as though my skin was shrinking and shriveling all over my body as the thing shifted from facing the door, to facing me directly. Was it watching me? Did it know I was watching it? I glanced away and strained to listen for the sounds of cell doors opening, or of guards in the hallways, but kept the beast in the corner of my vision. A man wailing, the sound of the wind in the hall, tribal men and women ululating outside and far below… but no guards. I looked back at my bucket. I could trap the scorpion underneath it, or I could try to smash it with my rock, but I would have to get past the scorpion first. How fast could a scorpion move? Would it beat me there? Would it attack me as I passed it? I was beaten and I knew it. I wasn’t crazy.


I WASN’T CRAZY. Not like most of the tortured souls I shared the prison with. Some wandered, muttering and bumping into walls. Some sat unmoving for hours, staring into a darkness even the desert sun couldn’t penetrate, their eyes seeing but not seeing, ears hearing but not listening. And​ a sad few would break; they would weep, and rock, and cry out. These were the broken: shuffling from place to place, barely eating, barely drinking, numbly watching the flesh drip from their bones, oblivious to the blood slowing in their veins.

One of these, an older prisoner called Jangi the Brave (a joke by the guards) struggled to eat on his own, and was at times prone to fits of abject fear and panic. They were cruel to this one. I used to help him eat, placing bits of food on his tongue, tilting his head back and massaging his jowls until he swallowed. Once, when I tried bringing him water in my cup, a guard who hated Jangi struck the cup from my hands and then struck me in the gut for good measure. I was refused a replacement for the cup, but when they weren’t looking, I brought Jangi water anyway, carrying it carefully in my hands. In rare, lucid moments, he told me about his life as a guard in the court of the cruel prince Shapur.

“He ordered us to beat men who were already in chains. Had us burn the feet of those he deemed his enemies, ordered us to cut out their eyes and tongues, even to scalp them. This is not the Persian way,” he said.

“However did you come to be in this place?” I asked him once.

“The prince,” he replied, speaking cautiously, searching, pausing after certain words, “declared as his enemy a small child.” His lower lip trembling, Jangi cleared his throat and continued. “The son he was, this boy, of a nomad who followed his Sheikh into battle against us.”

“What did the prince order you to do?”

“His father: killed before the boy’s eyes. The boy was no more than 5.”

“And the prince’s order…?”

Jangi only shook his head. “Not the Persian way.”

“You refused to carry out his order,” I said. He lowered his eyes and lifted one of his gnarled hands an inch or two from his lap. The hand shook as he tried to make a fist. Jangi opened his mouth to speak, but only a pinched groan issued from his throat, which I knew to mean that he was fading from his thoughts again.

The guards stopped letting me help Jangi. One day, he spat up a bit of rice, and it landed on a guard’s foot. Infuriated, the guard ordered him to be taken to the Pit for punishment – As they wrenched him from his chair, one of the guards parted the hair behind Jangi’s head, and there, on the back of his neck, was tattooed in black ink the aleph:

Gesturing at the symbol, one guard barked an order, and another produced a short knife, its folded-steel blade glinting in the bold light that streamed through the slit in the far wall. In rough, brutish strokes, the guard sheared Jangi’s white hair until only a few close-cropped patches remained. His scalp bled in several places, where the guard’s careless cutting had nicked and sliced the skin, as they dragged him out of the chamber and into a dim tunnel leading deeper into the mountain.

One of the prisoners, a devious jailer’s pet with more teeth remaining and more flesh on his bones than any other inmate, recognized my perplexity. He smiled with a contemptuous curl of the lip and said, “He is marked. You were a fool to be kind to him.” Stroking his belly, which paunched through his gleaming white jubba, the man observed me, seeming to enjoy my distress at watching Jangi being taken. I turned back to face him and he chuckled. He added, with derision and disdain driving his gravelly voice down in pitch, “He has been to the Pit once before, and they marked him that time.” My hand went to the back of my own neck. Caressing the skin there, I felt the raised bumps of my own aleph tattoo. The jailer’s pet broke into sensuous laughter.

“You also have been once to the Pit already? Then you were even more foolish to help the old, brave soldier.” Drawing a deep breath, he stepped closer to me and, his jaw trembling with delight, he pointed after Jangi and said with relish, “And now they shave him and see he is marked. So, your friend is lost – unless his hair grow back before he die from the wanting of water, no?” He cackled so that his warm, fetid breath bathed my face. “Your beloved dôst will not return from his second visit to the pit.”

He was right; I never saw Jangi after that.

~ About the author ~

november 8 author

Alejandro de Gutierre is a writer living in California. His first book, THE RAT TUNNELS OF ISFAHAN, was published in Sept. 1, 2017.

Alejandro was born and raised in Tacoma, WA, and obtained a BA in English from Salem, OR’s Willamette University after a brief flirtation with Chemistry and Theater (in that order).

~ Stalk the author! ~

 Website ~ Goodreads ~ Amazon author page




A crime isn’t always criminal #mystery Abuse of Discretion from @authorPSY @RABTBookTours



Mystery, Thriller
Date Published: September 2017
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
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A Kid’s Curiosity … A Parent’s Nightmare
The award-winning author of “Anybody’s Daughter” is back with an addictive courtroom drama that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile criminal justice system.
Graylin Alexander is a model fourteen-year-old. When his adolescent curiosity gets the best of him, Graylin finds himself embroiled in a sexting scandal that threatens to ruin his life. Jenny Ungerman, the attorney hired to defend Graylin, is smart, confident and committed. She isn’t thrilled, however, when ex-prosecutor Angela Evans joins Graylin’s defense team. The two women instantly butt heads. Can they put aside their differences long enough to ensure Graylin gets justice?
Unbeknownst to Angela, her boyfriend Dre is wrestling with his own drama. Someone from his past wants him dead. For Dre, his response is simple—kill or be killed.
Other Books in the Dre Thomas Series:
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Buying Time
Dre Thomas Series, Book 1
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Waverly Sloan is a down-on-his-luck lawyer. But just when he’s about to hit rock bottom, he stumbles upon a business with the potential to solve all of his problems.
In Waverly’s new line of work, he comes to the aid of people in desperate need of cash. But there’s a catch. His clients must be terminally ill and willing to sign over rights to their life insurance policies before they can collect a dime. Waverly then finds investors eager to advance them thousands of dollars—including a hefty broker’s fee for himself—in exchange for a significant return on their investment once the clients take their last breath.
The stakes get higher when Waverly brokers the policy of the cancer-stricken wife of Lawrence Erickson, a high-powered lawyer who’s bucking to become the next U.S. Attorney General. When Waverly’s clients start dying sooner than they should, both Waverly and Erickson—who has some skeletons of his own to hide—are unwittingly drawn into a perilous web of greed, blackmail and murder.
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Anybody’s Daughter
Dre Thomas Series, Book 2
Publisher: Goldman House Publishing
Is Anybody’s Daughter Ever Safe?
Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains.
Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She’s about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend—a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn’t exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers- turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes. But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria.
Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard.
Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring his reign of terror to an end.
While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts.
As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan—one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it’s too late?
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~ Excerpt ~

Chapter 1
“What’s the matter, Mrs. Singletary? Why do I have to go to the principal’s office?”
I’m walking side-by-side down the hallway with my second-period teacher. Students are huddled together staring and pointing at us like we’re zoo animals. When a teacher at Marcus Preparatory Academy escorts you to the principal’s office, it’s a big deal. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before. I’m a good student. I never get in trouble.
Mrs. Singletary won’t answer my questions or even look at me. I hope she knows she’s only making me more nervous.
“Mrs. Singletary, please tell me what’s wrong?”
“Just follow me. You’ll find out in a minute.”
I’m about to ask her another question when it hits me. Something happened to my mama!
My mama has been on and off drugs for as long as I can remember. I haven’t seen her in months and I don’t even know where she lives. No one does. I act like it doesn’t bother me, but it does. I’ve prayed to God a million times to get her off drugs. Even though my granny says God answers prayers, He hasn’t answered mine, so I stopped asking.
I jump in front of my teacher, forcing her to stop. “Was there a death in my family, Mrs. Singletary? Did something happen to my mama?”
“No, there wasn’t a death.”
She swerves around me and keeps going. I have to take giant steps to keep up with her.
Once we’re inside the main office, Mrs. Singletary points at a wooden chair outside Principal Keller’s office. “Have a seat and don’t move.”
She goes into the principal’s office and closes the door. My head begins to throb like somebody’s banging on it from the inside. I close my eyes and try to calm down. I didn’t do anything wrong. It’s probably just—Oh snap! The picture!
I slide down in the chair and pull my iPhone from my right pocket. My hands are trembling so bad I have to concentrate to keep from dropping it. I open the photos app and delete the last picture on my camera roll. If anyone saw that picture, I’d be screwed.
Loud voices seep through the closed door. I lean forward, straining to hear. It almost sounds like Mrs. Singletary and Principal Keller are arguing.
“It’s only an allegation. We don’t even know if it’s true.”
“I don’t care. We have to follow protocol.”
“Can’t you at least check his phone first?”
“I’m not putting myself in the middle of this mess. I’ve already made the call.”
The call? I can’t believe Principal Keller called my dad without even giving me a chance to defend myself. How’d she even find out about the picture?
The door swings open and I almost jump out of my skin. The principal crooks her finger at me. “Come in here, son.”
Trudging into her office, I sit down on a red cloth chair that’s way more comfortable than the hard one outside. My heart is beating so fast it feels like it might jump out of my chest.
The only time I’ve ever been in Principal Keller’s office was the day my dad enrolled me in school. Mrs. Singletary is standing in front of the principal’s desk with her arms folded. I hope she’s going to stay here with me, but a second later, she walks out and closes the door.
Principal Keller sits on the edge of her desk, looking down at me. “Graylin, do you have any inappropriate pictures on your cell phone?”
“Huh?” I try to keep a straight face. “No, ma’am.”
“It’s been brought to my attention that you have an inappropriate picture—a naked picture—of Kennedy Carlyle on your phone. Is that true?”
“No…uh…No, ma’am.” Thank God I deleted it!
“This is a very serious matter, young man. So, I need you to tell me the truth.”
“No, ma’am.” I shake my head so hard my cheeks vibrate. “I don’t have anything like that on my phone.”
“I pray to God you’re telling me the truth.”
I don’t want to ask this next question, but I have to know. “Um, so you called my dad?”
“Yes, I did. He’s on his way down here now.”
I hug myself and start rocking back and forth. Even though I deleted the picture, my dad is still going to kill me for having to leave work in the middle of the day.
“I also made another call.”
At first I’m confused. Then I realize Mrs. Keller must’ve called my granny too. At least she’ll keep my dad from going ballistic.
“So you called my granny?”
“No.” The principal’s cheeks puff up like she’s about to blow something away. “I called the police.”
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~ About the Author ~


Pamela Samuels Young is an attorney and award-winning author of eight legal thrillers. Her most recent courtroom drama, Abuse of Discretion, tackles a troubling sexting case that gives readers a shocking look inside the juvenile justice system. Pamela is also the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction for her thriller Anybody’s Daughter. The former journalist received a bachelor’s degree from USC and also earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. She is a frequent speaker on the topics of child sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, and pursuing your passion. To invite Pamela to a book club meeting or speaking engagement, visit her website
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When the love of your life leaves, where do you go? Spotlight on #chicklit novel Life After Joe

Life After Joe

Title:  Life After Joe

Author: Ann Benamin

Genre: Chick lit/contemporary

Published: July 2015

 ~ Blurb ~

When the love of your life leaves, where do you go?

When thirty-something Liz McNeil is unexpectedly widowed, she has no idea what to do with her life. After the initial shock of her husband’s death wears off, she packs up her car and sets off on a tour of the country with Joe’s urn in the passenger seat. Using social media to connect with a variety of friends and family, Liz works through her grief in a number of unpredictable methods. As she shares her experience via blog posts, on a road trip full of surprises, Liz takes what life has given her and makes the best of her situation.  Will Liz ever be able to experience love again? Readers of P.S. I Love You will definitely be interested in the journey of this courageous young woman and her struggle for a new normal.

 ~ Grab a copy! ~


~ About the Author ~

Life After Joe - Ann Benjamin - author headshot

Ann Benjamin is an author and ex-pat living in Dubai, UAE. She enjoys travel, is obsessed with Pinterest, loves Newsies, supports UGA football, and write about food as A to Za’atar. You may recognize her from her other writing persona, Courtney Brandt, author of six young adult marching novels. With Room 702 well established, Ann is pleased to present her next project, a contemporary romance that asks: when the love of your life leaves you, where do you go? Life After Joe is now available. Please feel free to contact her at:

 ~ Stalk the author! ~

Amazon author page ~ Website

Dive into the #mystery disappearance in Maxwell Slade Has Vanished by @MarCarring


Book title: Maxwell Slade Has Vanished

Author: Marcia Carrington

Genre: Cozy Mystery/Romance/Crime

Published: April 20, 2016

~ Blurb ~

Fitness entrepreneur and personality Maxwell Slade goes missing one evening, this devastating his wife Beverley, and loyal staff at his company Maxwell’s Fitness. The police suspect he has been kidnapped, but cannot work out why the well-liked Maxwell is in this position, as he has no known enemies. A staff member at Maxwell’s Fitness, Allison Parker, firmly believes that Maxwell is alive, despite protests to the contrary by Beverley. Spurred on by Beverley’s lack of faith in Maxwell, Allison will deeply delve into Maxwell’s disappearance, but will her intervention in this matter place her life in peril?

 ~ Grab a copy ~

Amazon ~ Smashwords ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes

 ~ About the Author ~

Maple leaves in Autumn.

Marcia Carrington writes about the human condition, exploring what makes people tick, but in an upbeat and optimistic tone. She is an interested observer of popular culture, and fan of cinema from all eras and countries, especially from the 1930-1970s. Marcia is a long-time soap opera viewer, watching daytime, and night time serials from a very young age. Marcia is also a food connoisseur, with a particular love of chocolate, and coffee. The morning coffee has always been a staple for Marcia, and something which she cannot do without. There is just something about the fresh aroma of coffee early in the morning, and anytime for that fact, which proves irresistible to her. Marcia can be contacted on Twitter, and you can also visit her on her Blog at and on Pinterest.

~ Stalk the Author ~

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An armed insurrection, a military occupation, and the dawn of a dynasty…. The Last Crusader Kingdom #historicalfiction @HelenaPSchrader


Historical Fiction
Date Published: August 2017
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An armed insurrection, a military occupation, and the dawn of a dynasty….
John d’Ibelin, son of the legendary Balian, will one day defy the most powerful monarch on earth. But first he must survive his apprenticeship as squire to man determined to build a kingdom on an island ravaged by rebellion. The Greek insurgents have already driven the Knights Templar from the island, and now stand poised to destroy Richard the Lionheart’s legacy to the Holy Land: the crusader foothold on the island of Cyprus.

~ Grab your copy now! ~

Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ IndieBound ~ BookLaunch

~ Excerpt ~ 


The men who forced their way inside were dressed in chainmail from head to toe. They wore scull-cap helmets with heavy nose guards. Most terrifying of all, they wore surcoats with the arms of Jerusalem on them: they were the king’s men.
“Where’s Lord Aimery?” One of them barked at the servants.
“I’m here!” Aimery called from the floor above. Without hesitation the four armored men pushed past the frightened servants to the stairs at the back of the vaulted room. They pounded up to the next floor, and as they emerged out of the stairway, they found the Constable of Jerusalem hastily donning his surcoat while a young squire held his sword ready for him to take.
“Hold that, boy!” One of the king’s men shouted, springing to put himself between the squire and the constable. He pushed the squire backwards, pinned him against the wall, and wrenched the sword out of his hands with little trouble.
Meanwhile, the sergeant turned his attention to the Constable himself. “My lord, you are under arrest for high treason! Either you come with us willingly, or, we have orders to take you by force.”
Aimery de Lusignan was a handsome man in his early fifties. His shoulder-length, blond hair was somewhat disheveled and his face was sprouting the beginnings of a beard, but he had managed to pull on braies, hose and a gambeson over his nightshirt. He stood with his shoulders squared and his head held high. “The charges are false and slanderous!” he told the sergeant firmly. “I will defend myself before the High Court.”
“Maybe. For now you’re coming with us!” The sergeant answered bluntly, ominously lowering his hand to his hilt.
“Where are you taking me?” The Constable asked gruffly.
“To the royal dungeon, where all traitors are held! Now, are you coming willingly or must I use force?”
“Will you at least allow me to put on boots?” The Constable asked back in a voice that was edged with bitterness.
“No tricks!” the sergeant warned, drawing his sword for emphasis before nodding to Lord Aimery to get on with it.
The Constable walked across the room to where his knee-high boots were standing, the soft upper parts flopped over on their sides. He took the suede boots, sat on the nearest chest, and pulled them on one at a time. Then he stood and surveyed the room briefly; whether he was looking for a chance to escape or simply taking a last leave was unclear. The king’s men blocked the door, their swords drawn. They not only ensured he was trapped, they also kept his wife out. He could hear her anxious voice in the hall demanding an explanation. His squire was pinned against the far wall, his eyes wide with shock and disbelief.
“John, get word to your father of what has happened,” the Constable ordered the youth before walking briskly toward the men sent to arrest him. He allowed them to close around him as he passed out of the door. They clattered down the stairs and out into the street, leaving John and Lady Eschiva standing on the upstairs landing in horrified paralysis.
“Treason?” Lady Eschiva asked the squire. “Did I hear correctly? Champagne has arrested my lord husband for treason? But that’s not possible!” she protested at once.
“I’ve got to get word to my father at once!” John answered, his voice breaking with tension as the situation threatened to overwhelm him; he would not turn fourteen for another month.
“Mommy! Mommy! What are they going to do with Daddy?” It was the high pitched voice of eight-year-old Burgundia. Ten-year-old Guy pushed past her, protesting, “They can’t arrest, Daddy! He’s the Constable!”


Eschiva turned toward her children, but then stopped to look over her shoulder to her husband’s squire. “Yes, John, go to your father at once! If Isabella let this happen, he’s the only one who might be able to help us now!”

~ About the Author ~

Award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers readers tired of cliches and cartoons nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.
Helena P. Schrader earned a PhD in History from the University of Hamburg with a ground-breaking biography of a leader of the German Resistance to Hitler. She has published numerous works of fiction and non-fiction since.
Her Jerusalem Trilogy, set in the Holy Land in the late 12th century, has won critical acclaim, including Best Biographical Fiction 2016 from Pinnacle, Best Christian Historical Fiction 2017 from Readers’ Favorite, Best Spiritual/Religious Fiction 2017 from Feathered Quill.
For details visit or follow her blog: for updates on current works in progress, recent reviews and excerpts.
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The tinsel begins to tangle w/a series of Christmas Crimes #cozymystery Christmas in the Sisters from @beckiwillis15



Cozy Mystery, Holiday Cozy Mystery
Date Published: November 1, 2017
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The tinsel begins to tangle when someone targets the community for a series of ‘Christmas Crimes.’ Homes are broken into and wrapped gifts are stolen from beneath trees. Even vehicles loaded with presents aren’t safe, particularly on a lone stretch of highway. Things like this just don’t happen in Naomi and Juliet. Torn between solving the rash of burglaries and shutting down the gambling ring that’s active in the area again, Brash does the only thing he can: he hires In a Pinch to help with the investigation.
Finding the common link between cases is like finding the bad bulb on a string of lights. Every lead is a short circuit. The frustration mounts when Madison and the Angel Tree she’s involved with fall victim to the crimes. Only the worst kind of Grinch steals from needy children!
Brash has plans of his own for the perfect Christmas. With the help of a new jewelry store, he thinks he’s found just the right gift for Madison, until the Grinch strikes again. This wasn’t the surprise he had in mind.
Ready or not, Christmas is on its way, and time is running out to create the holiday of their dreams. As the house fills with unexpected guests, Madison and the twins honor favorite traditions from the past while creating a few new ones of their own.
Who has time for being kidnapped by men in Santa suits and bad beards?
This is one Christmas that no one in The Sisters will ever forget!
Other Books in The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series:
Chicken Scratch
Book One
When the Stars Fall
Book Two
Stipulations and Complications
Book Three
Home Again
Book Four
Genny’s Ballad
Book Five
About the Author

Becki Willis, best known for her popular The Sisters, Texas Mystery Series and Forgotten Boxes, always dreamed of being an author. In November of ’13, that dream became a reality. Since that time, she has published eleven books, won first place honors for Best Mystery Series, Best Suspense Fiction and Best Audio Book, and has introduced her imaginary friends to readers around the world.
An avid history buff, Becki likes to poke around in old places and learn about the past. Other addictions include reading, writing, junking, unraveling a good mystery, and coffee. She loves to travel, but believes coming home to her family and her Texas ranch is the best part of any trip. Becki is a member of the Association of Texas Authors, the National Association of Professional Women, and the Brazos Writers organization. She attended Texas A&M University and majored in Journalism.
Here’s what readers are saying about Becki and her books:
“This is an awesome new author with a strong voice! This was a great read with tons of suspense and great character development. I highly recommend you read this author!”…
“The best new series available.”…
“Full of twists and the best love story revealed in ages. Loved it!”…
“I should know better than to start one of Becki’s books at bedtime. So hard to stop in the middle!”…
“I loved every line of every page!!!”
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